During the holiday season, it's hard for students to associate the winter break with study. Help students stay ready for the New Year and the topics they'll be welcomed back to. Here are some of our strategies to create a curious mindset in your students so they don't stop learning during their time off.
Camouflage key questions that will be answered in the New Year so students are thinking about them during their time away. This could be an overarching question on a specific topic that will be the focus on their return. Hide this overlaying question by associating it with a holiday theme. For instance, if you're in a location where students may be making snowmen on their time off, you could leave them with the question of, "how does snow get made?" In the New Year, discuss this question with your students as you lead into a unit on weather and the water cycle.
Mask Learning Tools with a Gift
It's customary for students to receive gifts during their winter break, so it's no wonder that this would be first on their minds. Send your students off with your own version of a holiday gift that is also educational. Look for small puzzles that will encourage their creativity or critical thinking skills. A holiday-themed crossword or word search puzzle along with a customized pen with their name on it would be a great idea. There are also small science experiment kits they could use. Send them off with an educational scavenger hunt to complete while they're away. Offer prizes to winners when they return.
Baking with Chemistry and Math
Chemistry and math are two subjects that are used in baking. Baking also just happens to be something that many families do during their winter break. Send students home with a holiday cookie recipe that is interspersed with math and chemistry questions. Have students convert some measurements in the recipe. Or, have the students double the entire recipe so they'll have lots to share. Include explanations of what's happening to the ingredients as they cook in the oven. Include an extension activity where students imagine what is happening in the oven, and tells the story from the point of view of the ingredients.
Remember, winter break is a time to relax and spend some quality time with family. Even sharing some creative craft ideas for students to complete with their loved ones is a great way to keep their minds busy and curious. Check out some of our favorite holiday-themed crafts at our pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/classroomcompletepress/christmas-crafts/